A San Antonio woman has been arrested for the death of her 9-month-old son.
Police say the baby was found dead in his crib wrapped in wet blankets.
Mickey Bess is charged with injury to a child by omission.
Previous story from October 13, 2013
SAN ANTONIO — The same afternoon that Mickey Bess made the two-hour trip to Victoria on Wednesday to pay last respects to her 9-month-old son, police were called to her Northeast Side home by a neighbor who said the 30-year-old mother appeared intoxicated, had passed out on her front porch and remains hospitalized.
Bess' youngest son, Michael Rene Sanchez Jr., had been found dead at her home in the 5000 block of Casa Verde on the night of Oct. 6, lying in a crib and tightly wrapped in wet blankets, stiff, cold and showing signs of rigor mortis. Police are investigating his death as “suspicious.” However, no arrests have been made and the medical examiner has not yet determined an official cause of death.
When paramedics told her that her son was dead, a police report noted Bess appeared “emotionless.” A witness at the home told officers he had spent the day with her at SeaWorld after she told him the child was being cared for by someone else.
Michael was buried Thursday in Victoria, where the family of his father, Michael Rene Sanchez Sr., 32, live.
Information gathered from police and Child Protective Services shows that Bess has had a history with alcohol and domestic violence dating to at least December 2011, when CPS began investigating her for possible neglectful supervision of her two sons — who at the time were 17 months and 1 month old — a year before Michael was born.
In addition to having three boys under the age of 3 by the time she was 30, Bess has another child, a now 10-year-old girl, with her first husband, who has asked not to be named so as not to identify the child.
Three years ago, he and his new wife took over caring for her fulltime and say Bess has attempted only once to visit the girl since then.
The investigation involving Bess' sons spanned 15 months and was closed on March 15 this year after she had successfully completed four required courses, including two about alcohol education and parenting. CPS said it consulted with therapists and psychologists who determined there were no concerns about her abilities to care for the children.
Michael was three months old when, according to Mary Walker, a CPS spokeswoman, “the belief was that there would be no problem with the children being back in the home with the mom.”
The boy's father has expressed disbelief that, considering Bess' history, the state agency closed its investigation, and CPS has admitted fault in not notifying him about the investigation.
In the time between CPS closed out its investigation and before Michael's death last Sunday, police were called to the home six times, including twice for calls related to the safety of the children.
In August there was a reported near drowning of a 7-month-old boy who was left unattended in the bathtub and had to be taken to the hospital. And less than a month later another 911 call was placed from the home reporting that three children were locked inside a white GMC Yukon. 7
CPS wasn't notified of either call, which could have started another investigation into Bess' care of the boys.
Details about Wednesday's police call are outlined in a report that states officers got to her home at 6:18 p.m. and spoke to the neighbor who said she had been talking with Bess about 30 minutes earlier and “she was fine,” but when she returned to the home Bess was “slurring her speech and appeared intoxicated.”
The officer who wrote the report noted that she found Bess on the porch, sitting “in the chair with her head back, mouth open and eyes slightly open,” adding that she “would not respond to any questions and would not move.”
When medics who arrived on scene also couldn't get her to respond, she was taken to Northeast Baptist Hospital for treatment, according to the report.
Saturday she remained hospitalized.
Another alcohol-related incident is documented in a police report from April 14, 2012, that involved Bess and Michael Rene Sanchez Sr.
Police got to the home just after 1 a.m., and Sanchez told them he and Bess had been sitting on the porch drinking beer but that a fight broke out after they ran out.
According to the report, Bess asked him to get more beer, he told her they stopped selling beer at midnight and then she “threw a dinner plate at him.”
“Both parties stated they were wrong and did not want to press charges on each other,” and Sanchez agreed to leave the house and go stay with a friend, according to the report.
Michael Sanchez Sr., a combat veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who reached the rank of sergeant, said Bess was in Victoria briefly Wednesday afternoon but left town after saying goodbye to Michael.
Sanchez Sr., who said he moved out of the Casa Verde home he shared with Bess in July, intends on seeking custody not only of his biological son but of the 3-year-old boy, whom he considers one of his own children but who was actually fathered by Bess' second husband.
“It's just not right what happened,” he said. “I know that they know that they messed up, and I want my two other children. I've been supporting them for three years.”
Mickey Bess married her second husband, Trent Bess, 39, at the Bexar County Courthouse on Dec. 22, 2008, and the pair remain legally married, though Trent Bess said he has been estranged from her since November 2009, prior to the birth of their now 3-year-old son.
Trent Bess, who lives out of state and works as a title agent for an oil and gas company, plans to seek custody of his son in light of the death of his stepbrother.
Since Monday, CPS has had custody of the two boys.
“His safety is paramount to me, and I will not feel comfortable or safe until I know with my own eyes that he is safe,” he said. “I really don't see (Mickey) as an evil or bad person, she's just sick — she doesn't take responsibility to get the help she needs, and hopefully this will be a turning point for her.”